Staying Safe on Summer Inflatables

In the summer time, a combination of fun and relaxation seems to make for the best parties and gatherings. Frankly, there is a lot of relaxing fun going on right now, taking all of the graduation parties, BBQs and July 4th celebrations that are planned and the others that have already happened. During this time, it is very important to consider the entertainment at your party, which most likely includes an inflatable of some sort – possibly an obstacle course or inflatable slide. However amusing these inflatables are, you need to make sure that safety is a primary concern, especially when children are utilizing these rental inflatables.

Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure that everyone has a good time safely:

  • Stay ahead of the weather when you have rented an inflatable. Don’t just watch the local weather report – make sure you are always looking to see if rain clouds are coming. Keeps your ears open as well – if any thunder is heard, start getting people off of the inflatable. In any nasty weather, turn off the inflatable and unplug the motors.
  • Power losses can be very common in the summertime, especially with air conditioners causing brown-outs in local areas. If an outage occurs during your party, your first concern should be aimed towards your rented inflatable. Most of these units deflate slowly, so you have some time to evacuate everyone off of the unit. If you have a standard bounce house, most have an open area in the roof that will help children get out if the entire house deflates.
  • Make sure the rental company you are working with provides an attendant for the day of the event you are holding. Properly trained attendants will be able to police the inflatable and make sure that everyone is as safe as possible.

Inflatable Architecture Being Exhibited

CasaBubbleWhen you think about inflatables, your mind probably immediately thinks of beach balls, snow tubes and even inflatable slides. You might think about some custom inflatables you saw recently at a tradeshow event or one of those blimps that drops prizes at arena sports games. However, you will probably not think about inflatable architecture, like the type being exhibited at an arts and design show being held in Los Angeles.

A piece in the Los Angeles Times discusses an exhibition at the Dwell on Design show – an exhibition that features the CasaBubble, which is basically an inflatable guest room for your backyard. Designed by British company AirClad, this installation is a jump forward in inflatable structures:

“CasaBubble…is a sphere that holds its shape with air blown by quiet turbines, which use less than 100 watts of electricity per hour to run — roughly the equivalent of a light bulb. The sphere is fully pressurized in as little as 15 minutes, and the air inside is refreshed as often as seven times per hour, preventing humidity and condensation from clouding the bubble. The design has two doors, but only one can be open at a time or the structure will collapse.”

The bubble can be used for a number of purposes, the article says, citing a children’s play area, pop-up shelter and the aforementioned outdoor guest room. It weighs a mere 53 to 190 pounds, making it relatively portable. CasaBubble can withstand winds upwards of 40 mph and is made of clear, UV-treated PVC to resist discoloration. Apparently, this type of inflatable architecture has been around for a while:

“Bubbletecture, as it’s known, has been around since at least the 1960s and early ’70s, when the Ant Farm and Jersey Devil design practices created temporary art installations. The fad went as quickly as it came, only to be reimagined in the late ’90s as a possible solution to homelessness: Exhaust from buildings’ heating and air conditioning units was used to inflate temporary housing.”

A new 32 foot long pool house design will debut at Dwell on Design.

Inflatable Actors Make Another Appearance

Inflatable Extras

Inflatables are being found more and more in various types of industries that we have covered in this blog before. Whether inflatables are being used for sterilization or for protecting motorcycle racers during crashes, the adaptability of inflatable materials goes well beyond the bounce houses we know them for. Unfortunately for those people who make a living being background actors in the movies, inflatables are becoming more and more common replacements on movie sets.

First mentioned in this blog some time ago, inflatable people were first noticed in The King’s Speech, the Oscar-winning film about a British king struggling with stuttering during WWII. Scenes in the movie called for hundreds of background actors, but organizing, costuming and paying a few thousand extras proved to be too difficult for producers. Instead, a few hundred people were hired and surrounded with inflatable extras.

This is exactly what is happening on the set of 42, a film about Jackie Robinson’s historic break into baseball in the late 40s. According to an article in WMAZ, inflatable extras will be lining the stands during baseball game shooting:

“A photo from the Chattanooga web site, Nooga.com, shows a Rossville, Ga., woman who acted as an extra for filming in that city surrounded by inflatables dressed up like baseball fans. By email to 13WMAZ, the film’s publicist, Ernie Malik wrote, ‘Inflatables are used along with real folk, who provided the human movement necessary for crowd scenes…we used both real people and the inflatables.’”

The primary reason for the inflatable actors, the article says, is the prohibitive production cost inherent in a period piece. Checking 500 actors for the appropriate 1940s costuming, grooming and makeup would prove to be too difficult. Instead, the stands will be filled with inflatable stand-ins and a significantly smaller number of real actors.

What do you think about the use of inflatable ‘actors’?

Coming Soon – Inflatable Space Stations

Inflatable Space Station

In the inflatable world, there are a number of things you might not think about unless you read this blog consistently. For instance, inflatables go beyond just being used as a fun escape, they have been used in life-saving inventions and in laboratories all over the world. Now inflatables are being used in space as habitats, and I’m not talking about a space-themed jumper combo.

According to Geek System, NASA has been invested in inflatable habitats for a long time, and now they may become a reality, due to a new partnership:

“A little over a week before SpaceX’s planned unmanned mission to the International Space Station, the company has announced a new partnership with Bigelow Aerospace, makers of inflatable habitats for space. [Bigelow’s] inflatable habitats offer as much protection against high-velocity impacts and radiation as traditional solid aliminum design, while offering more space at a fraction of the weight.”

Although the premise behind the deal wasn’t specifically outlined, the article says it was likely made to offer potential clients a full package deal for launching projects in space -starting with SpaceX’s rockets and ending with a project housed in Bigelow’s inflatable habitats. Even though Bigelow is a formidable provider of inflatables for space usage, it is finding itself in a tough spot, due to the minimal ways to get into space being offered:

“Like SpaceX, Bigelow is one of the few space companies with a proven track record, with successful launches and deployments of their inflatable habitats in 2006 and 2007. However, the company has struggled to push forward as the number of ways to get humans to space has remained extremely limited.”

This is possibly why Space X is starting their inflatable space station marketing in Japan – a country with a growing space program. Would you ever want to work in, live in or visit an inflatable space station? I know I would!

Come to the American Inflatable Road Show

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, June 5th and 6th, don’t forget to come out to the largest inflatable road show in the country – the American Inflatable Road Show (AIRS)! Created by the American Inflatable Alliance, this smorgasbord of inflatable games, jumpers, obstacle courses and more is taking place in Arlington, TX, each day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be a number of inflatable companies showcasing their wares, including Inflatable 2000, who is also a sponsor of the show itself!

The purpose of this tradeshow is to make the inflatable products of many companies available to as many people as possible. Beyond that, there are a number of safety and educational courses happening throughout the day to inform everyone about how to properly use inflatable products.

Attendance is free for all and lunch is included as well! All absolutely free! Come join the Inflatable 2000 company team and have fun with inflatables at the road show next week. It will be a blast!